Tuesday, March 6 2018 18:09
Alina Hovhannisyan

Iranian side: Armenia-Iran railway depends on Armenia

Iranian side: Armenia-Iran railway depends on Armenia

ArmInfo. The Iranian side still  reviews the possibility of construction of the Armenia-Iran railway.  The representative of the Ministry of Transport and Urban Development  of Iran Mehdi Ashfari told journalists on March 6 at the margins of  the meeting of the TRACECA Intergovernmental Commission. He clarified  that the Iranian side views this project as a very important one.

He noted the importance of creating a transport corridor between the  Persian Gulf and the Black Sea. "If Armenia also starts construction  work, I think there will be no problems for the simple reason that  the Iranian railway reaches the border of Armenia, and we do not see  any obstacles from the point of view of continuing this project. Is  there really a desire and an opportunity?", Ashfari wondered. The  representative of Iran stressed that "Armenia occupies very important  positions from the point of view of its geographical location and is  a bridge between different capitals, which is very promising for us".  In particular, he noted that negotiations on the implementation of  the program are continuing. "Iran is ready. It remains to obtain the  final consent of other countries to start construction work," he  concluded.

Earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said at a  press conference in Tbilisi that "in the case of a corridor between  the Persian Gulf and the Black Sea, great opportunities will open,  the cost of transportation will significantly decrease."

On February 12, in an interview with journalists, the Iranian  Ambassador to Armenia Seyed Kazem Sadjadi also noted that the  Armenian side should make the first step towards the construction of  the Iran-Armenia railway.

It is noteworthy that the project, which was announced as early as in  2012, is not still completely formed.  At the moment, according to a  very approximate calculation, the construction cost is estimated at $  3.2 billion. The routes of connection with the operating railway  through the Sevan coast (Sevan station) are discussed, the other is  through the Ararat valley (Yeraskh station). "At the moment the route  through Sevan is preferable," Minister Vahan Martirosyan explained.  As he said, all for the same rough estimates, the payback period of  the project is estimated at 22 years.

According to the project, the total length of the road on the  territory of Armenia will be 305 km. It will have 86 bridges, a total  length of 19.6 km and 60 tunnels with a total length of 102 km.  Construction in accordance with the submitted program should be  completed in 2022.

However, according to independent economic analysts, the economic  inefficiencies in the construction of the Iran-Armenia railway are  based on three major factors. This, first of all, is the deadlock of  the Armenian railway and the impossibility of its direct access to  the "Russian and Eurasian expanses".  Secondly, even with the  hypothetical possible unblocking of the Abkhaz section of the railway  in the future, the presence of the currently constructed Iran-Armenia  section of the North-South highway will make the Iran-Armenia  railway, in connection with its insignificant length, ineffective. To  this initially low efficiency, the third, perhaps most important,  factor is added: the railway project of the Astara-Resht- Qazvin  railroad realized by the Railways. This is a transport corridor that  connected the existing railways of Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran. The  project was implemented within the framework of the international  transport corridor "North-South", whose goal is the integration of  the transport and information highways of Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran,  India and Oman. According to analysts, the Iran-Armenia railway  project is exclusively politically motivated and that is why, during  the last 5 years, it practically did not manage to move from the dead  center.

However, on the eve the Minister of Transport, Communications and  Information Technologies of Armenia Vahan Martirosyan received the  Director General of the Office for Eurasian Civil Engineering  Corporation of China, Jiang Aiming. The company is interested in the  design and construction of the Armenia-Iran railway.

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